2021 update on Red Lab activities

Following the launch of the Red Lab incubator, three of our curricular internships completed in 2020 and four more have already started. Another three are planned to begin during the first half of 2021. As a result of this first Red Lab phase, we are pleased to say that Serco has won a new contract with ESA/ESRIN and recruited a student into a full-time role.

The current activities of the Red Lab curricular internships address a variety of studies and applications based on Earth observation datasets in the context of existing Serco contracts, with a focus on innovative technologies.

Some examples of topics include the study and development of a low cost air quality sensor unit – a  station integrating in a single unit a suite of several sensors measuring pollutant gases and real-time position –, the design of key quality index for Swarm level 2 datasets and SMOS (Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity) solar flux measurements for thermosphere modelling.

As well as the existing partnerships with Sapienza and Tor Vergata Universities in Rome, new cooperation agreements have been signed for 2021: one with another prestigious second level Master with the Space Missions Science, Design and Applications of Alma Mater Studiorum at the University of Bologna; and the other with the Uninform Group Business School in Rome.

Currently the Red Lab is actively collaborating with a total of five universities in Italy (Rome, Trieste, Bologna) and negotiations are ongoing with other universities in Italy and Ireland.

Red Lab has also been involved in educational activities, including a seminar presented at the Information and Telecommunication Department of Sapienza University in December 2020 on the European Space Agency SMOS satellite mission, focusing on the water cycle as a key element for our understanding of weather forecasting and long-term climate change monitoring.

Image on right: The Red Lab station (rectangular box) installed at Sapienza University (Rome, Italy) below the Sun-Photometer.


Preliminary O3 measurements comparison between professional sensor (top panel) and Red Lab station (lower panel) shows a good agreement.

PM2.5 values collected by the Red Lab station during the real-time measurement sessions in November 2020 along the Rome motorway. Red circles indicate higher PM2.5 concentration, green circles indicate lower PM2.5 concentration.